Mill workers’ housing.
Accommodation for mill workers became quite an issue as the 19thc progressed and the mills grew in number and size. The populations of Blairgowrie and Rattray grew considerably to 2,000 – 2,500 people but the mill owners still had to recruit workers from outwith the area and from other towns and cities to take on the specialist roles of supervisors and managers. Housing needs had to be addressed and accommodation provided adjacent to the mills.
Sources: Meg Luckins
Long working hours required that the mill workers (most often women) had to live close to their place of work. In the early years of the mill building boom young children were often employed at the request of their parents and it became a family tradition.
The mill owners built fine mansions in the vicinity and the mill managers often had a large house next to the mill where they could keep an eye on proceedings. One such manager’s house was built near Brooklinn mill and called Arnbank House. It remained empty after Brooklinn closed in 1963 and was recently ‘tumbled’ as it became too derelict and dangerous to the public along the Oakbank road. Opposite Arnbank house are the remaining foundations of a long tenement building which housed the workers at Brooklinn Mill. Not far along the path is another similar tenement built for Ashbank Mill.
These tenements are unusual in that they were built into the hillside above the banks of the river as at New Lanark.The upper floors of the tenement were reached by external stairs at the front of the building.
The provision of tenemented housing for such small mills was rare.